One of the many challenges of teaching in a hybrid classroom setting this fall is giving the kids who are attending virtually a similar experience to those who are attending class in-person. To that end, one of the things that I’m trying this week is using virtual background in Zoom that lists the bullet points for the day. I have three or four bullet points for the day written on my whiteboard in class every day. I do this as a way to let kids know what the goals and big points for day are. I’m now trying to remember to do the same in Zoom with virtual background for the kids who are joining virtually for the day.
There are other uses for virtual backgrounds in Zoom besides my bullet point idea. If you’re teaching from home, you might just want to hide or improve the background. If you’ve positioned your webcam/ laptop in your classroom in such a way that the background includes other students, you might want to use virtual background to hide them. Or you might simply want to use a virtual background as a means to inspire curiosity. If I was still teaching social studies instead of computer science, I’d be tempted to use pictures of UNESCO World Heritage sites in my Zoom virtual backgrounds.
If you’ve never tried using a Zoom virtual background, watch this short video in which I explain how to use a virtual background and share some good places to find virtual background images.